Aldershot distance runner enjoys solid weekend in Easter endurance festival
Mick Woods-trained runners were the dominant force at the 32nd KPMG Guernsey Easter Festival, with John McDonnell making a stunning debut appearance on the island and Steph Twell taking the overall women’s honours in the face of international competition.
Hannah England and husband Luke Gunn took up an invitation from Guernsey marathon star Lee Merrien to make the trip and while Gunn competed well in all four events, the world championship 1500m silver medallist restricted herself to a two-mile relay leg and a tempo run in the final event of the Easter weekend, the half-marathon.
Another newcomer to the Guernsey Festival was England’s fellow middle-distance rival Charlene Thomas (pictured above with Twell) and the Wakefield runner sprung a minor surprise when she handed Twell a defeat and took the women’s honours in the opening Good Friday 10km road race.
England, Twell, Emily Pidgeon and Scottish steeplechaser Lennie Waite combined under an unofficial GB banner to claim the women’s relay honours from a gallant Guernsey quartet lacking its top runner, Hampshire champion Louise Perrio, through illness. Merrien was also a spectator following hernia surgery.
Elsewhere over the weekend, Martin Rees ran a world M60 best for 10 miles when he clocked 55:04 on a tough, windy course in Lampeter, Wales.
In the United States, 18-year-old Zak Seddon was almost 20 seconds inside the European Junior Championships qualifying standard for 3000m steeplechase when the young Briton clocked 8:45.63 to finish second at the Stanford International. At the same meeting, Elinor Kirk went top of the UK women’s 5000m rankings and took nearly a minute off of her outdoor PB when she was fourth in 16:07.13.
At the Anglo Celtic Plate ultra race in Perth, Scotland, the victories went to Daniel Doherty and Emily Gelder, the latter taking her fourth title in a race that incorporates the UK 100km championships.
Just five days after she competed for Britain in the World Cross Country Championships in Poland, Emily Wicks won the Maidenhead 10 in a PB 56:37.
» Full report on the Guernsey Festival plus further details of the above events, plus many more, in Athletics Weekly’s April 4 issue